Is the Western Climate Initiative tanking?

Last week, I wrote a piece for the newspaper (adwalled) about the difficulties faced by greenhouse reduction advocates in New Mexico in getting their Western Climate Initiative legislation moving:

The difficulty in passing legislation here is mirrored in other states. Efforts in Montana, Arizona, Utah and Washington, which are also part of the Western Climate Initiative, have run into delays, raising questions about the necessity of state-by-state efforts to get legislation passed.

The troubles continue, according to this report from Tom Banse at Oregon Public Broadcasting:

Richard DeBolt: “We know the federal government is going to take action soon.  Why would we want to jump out in front when we don’t know what the structure is going to look like –who is going to be damaged, how it’s going to look — when you’re going to have a unified system running across the United States.”

In Olympia, in Salem, in Santa Fe, Phoenix, Salt Lake, and Helena, similar arguments are leading to the same outcome.

Utah and Arizona legislators went so far as to urge their governors to pull out of the Western climate group.  In the New Mexico and Montana legislatures, the idea never saw the light of day.  In Washington State, lawmakers considered and then quickly dropped the cap.

In Oregon, the process of watering down the greenhouse gas rules is underway.

The arguments here parallel those heard last week in the U.S. Senate in a very important way for those trying to understand the political reality of climate change action in the United States (see Roger Pielke Jr. for a discussion of the most important Senate votes). Move beyond the abstract notion of climate change action to specifics that have the potential to cost something, somewhere, to someone, and suddenly things get a whole lot harder.

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